Division of Spill Prevention and Response


Site Report: Port Heiden SS005 POL Tankfarm

Site Name: Port Heiden SS005 POL Tankfarm
Address: Located on the Coast at, Southern End of Pipeline, Port Heiden, AK 99549
File Number: 2637.38.002.07
Hazard ID: 180
Status: Cleanup Complete
Staff: ,
Latitude: 56.913025
Longitude: -158.687078
Horizontal Datum:NAD83

We make every effort to ensure the data presented here is accurate based on the best available information currently on file with DEC. It is therefore subject to change as new information becomes available. We recommend contacting the assigned project staff prior to making decisions based on this information.


Petroleum contaminated soil and groundwater from a former bulk fuel tank farm that housed two 250,000 gallon fuel storage tanks, a pumphouse and associated piping. Associated with the Study Area Marine Terminal Area which includes (SS005) the POL Tank Farm. beach, and peripheral area. (Formerly known as AOC06) The Corps of Engineers conducted cleanup work in 1990-92 on both Fort Morrow and the Air Force White Alice Communication System (WACS) site. At the tank farm associated with the WACS, the tanks were removed and sold to Reeve and approximately 10,000 cubic yards of petroleum contaminated soil were excavated and thermally treated. CERCLA ID AK8570028698.

Action Information

Action Date Action Description DEC Staff
11/30/1986 Update or Other Action The Marine Terminal Area contained two aboveground 250,000-gallon fuel storage tanks, a fuel pumphouse, and fuel distribution pipes. Contaminant source areas were initially designated as Spills 2l, 22, and 23. Spills 21 and 22 consisted of the tank ring sands below the former aboveground fuel storage tanks and the fill and native soils surrounding the former tank rings. Spill 23 was contiguous to Spills 21 and 22, and consisted of a former fuel pumphouse and supply line connected to the ASTs. Eventually, all three spill areas overlapped and soil removal became one large excavation. The entire area was eventually designated Spill 22. In 1986, samples were collected throughout the Port Heiden area including the petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tank area. One sample was collected from the POL tank area and was analyzed for EP TOX metals. None were detected. John Halverson
11/12/1990 Update or Other Action In the fall of 1990, the concrete tank rings were removed and the tank ring sand pads excavated from the former AST areas. The excavated tank pad sands were field screened and segregated into two stockpiles of “greater than” and “less than” 5,000 mg/Kg TPH. The excavated soil characterized as “greater than” 5,000 mg/Kg TPH was placed in reinforced bags for eventual disposal. Approximately 578 cy of excavated soil was classified as “less than” 5,000 mg/Kg, and was initially stockpiled on the south side of the east-west runway. After the tank ring sands had been removed, much of the remaining soil was reported to be POL-impacted. Due to remaining impacted soil and the probability of further excavation needed in the area, the “less than” 5,000 mg/Kg TPH soil was placed back into the original tank rings excavation to avoid leaving the excavation open over the winter. John Halverson
11/11/1991 Update or Other Action Between October and November of 1991, additional petroleum impacted soils from the tank rings and surrounding area were excavated. Prior to excavation, a perimeter measuring 72 feet by 180 feet was surveyed around the area and subdivided into a 6-foot by 6-foot grid system. Excavation of impacted soil was based on the results of a flame ionization detector field screening instrument and on-site soil sample analysis. Excavated soils were treated on site in the MSRU. At the end of the 1991 project, the excavation had been advanced to depths of 2 to 3 feet bgs, and approximately 800 tons of impacted soil had been removed and treated. Soil samples were collected from the excavation at depths between 0 and 60 inches bgs and analyzed in an on-site field laboratory for TPH by USEPA Method 418.1. The highest TPH concentrations ranged from 95 mg/Kg to 16,000 mg/Kg and were detected in samples collected from 6 to 12 inches bgs in the vicinity of the fuel pump house. TPH concentrations in soil samples collected from the rest of the excavation ranged from 0 to 6,100 mg/Kg, with the highest concentrations detected in samples from 30 inches bgs. Additional samples were collected from the soil that was excavated from the area in 1990. TPH concentrations detected in these samples ranged from 2,000 mg/Kg to 25,000 mg/Kg. Confirmation samples were not collected from the walls and bottom of the excavation in 1991 because the limits of impacted soil were not found. John Halverson
11/11/1992 Update or Other Action Excavation of the tank rings and surrounding soils were resumed in May 1992 and continued through July 1992. The excavation was advanced in all directions until the limits of petroleum impacted soil were found, or to within 10 feet of the ocean-side bluff on the western perimeter of the excavation. While trying to reach the limits of contamination, the northwestern perimeter was extended towards the fuel pump house and fuel supply line. The bottom of the excavation was advanced to approximately 6.5 feet bgs at the edges, and to approximately 7.5 feet bgs at two areas in the center. At 7.5 feet bgs, the contractor reported encountering “pure diesel fuel floating on the water table.” NOTE TO FILE: this pure diesel fuel appears to be “free product” which means a concentration of a hazardous substance that is present as a nonaqueous phase liquid; for purposes of this paragraph, a “nonaqueous phase liquid” is a liquid that is not dissolved in water. 18 AAC 75.325(f) states: A responsible person shall (1) to the maximum extent practicable, (A) use permanent remedies; (B) recover free product in a manner that (i) minimizes the spread of contamination into an uncontaminated area by using containment, recovery, and disposal techniques appropriate to site conditions; (ii) avoids additional discharge; and (iii) disposes of the recovered free product in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal requirements By the end of excavation activities in July 1992, approximately 10,000 tons of soil had been excavated from the area and treated on site in the MSRU. Soil samples were collected from the excavation perimeter and bottom. The samples were analyzed for TPH in an on-site field laboratory. TPH concentrations ranged from less than 25 mg/Kg to 79,800 mg/Kg, with the highest concentrations detected in soil samples collected at approximately 6 feet bgs in the vicinity of the pump house. Pre-confirmatory soil samples were collected from the excavation perimeter and bottom prior to final excavation activities, and analyzed for TPH in the onsite laboratory. Based on those analytical results, additional soil was removed in the northwestern portion of the excavation, and in the bottom of the excavation. Following final excavation activities, 13 confirmation soil samples were collected from the bottom and sides of the excavation. Figure 2-5 shows the results of the confirmation sampling where the coastline had not yet eroded. In addition to being analyzed on site for TPH, these samples were sent to the project and QA laboratories to be analyzed for TPH by USEPA Method 418 1, GRO by USEPA Method 8015, and for BTEX by USEPA Method 8020. Three of the eleven analyzed confirmation samples had TPH concentrations greater than 100 mg/Kg. One sample collected from the northwest excavation bottom had a TPH concentration of 1,940 mg/Kg, a GRO concentration of 3,890 mg/Kg, and a BTEX concentration of 36 mg/Kg. A second sample, collected from the north wall of the excavation, had a TPH concentration of 260 mg/Kg and a GRO concentration of 67.9 mg/Kg. The third sample was collected from the southeast excavation bottom and had a TPH concentration of 924 mg/Kg and a GRO concentration of 695 mg/Kg. In addition to the soil sampling and analysis, one free-product sample was collected from the bottom of the excavation. This sample was sent to the project laboratory for analysis for volatile organic hydrocarbons by USEPA Method 8240. The detected analyte concentrations were toluene at 21.3 mg/Kg, ethylbenzene at 190 mg/Kg, and total xylenes at 1,320 mg/Kg. Louis Howard
3/13/1996 Update or Other Action DEC received the Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection Report Port Heiden Radio Relay Station, dated March 1996, written by EMCON for the Air Force. Shoreline had eroded 15 to 20 feet since excavation was completed. Additional investigation was recommended but the eroding shoreline may prevent additional work. John Halverson
12/29/1997 Update or Other Action Management Action Plan DACA85-95-D-0010, D.O. No. 16 is intended to be a strategic document integrating the Environmental Restoration Program {ERP) into a series of response actions necessary to protect human health and the environment. Due to the dynamics inherent in the strategic planning process, the MAP represents a "snapshot" in time, requiring periodic updating to remain useful. This MAP does the following: • Describes the environmental response objectives, the MAP purpose, and a brief history of the installation (Chapter 1), Identifies all known contaminated sites; environmental condition of property; real property, off-base facilities and properties; and non-Air Force tenants (Chapter 2); Summarizes the status of the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and regulatory agreements (if applicable); IRP Sites; Areas of Concern (AOCs); and community relations program Chapter 3); Describes the installation-wide strategy for environmental restoration through the definition of zones (including current scope of removal and remedial activities associated with, or to be completed for, each), and contracting and hiring strategy (Chapter 4), and • Provides a Master Schedule of planned and anticipated activities to be performed throughout the duration of the ERP(Chapter 5). All areas at the Port Heiden RRS have been assigned to one of seven environmental condition of property categories based on site characterization and remediation efforts to date. AOC01:Category 6. Areas where storage, release, or disposal of hazardous substances or petroleum products has occurred, but required response initiatives have not yet been implemented. The Black Lagoon (AOC01), the Gray Lagoon (AOC02), and the POL Tank Farm (AOC06) are in this category. Louis Howard
11/2/1999 Site Added to Database POL. AOC06 (POL tank farm) The tanks were removed and landfilled in 1990 From 1990 to 1992, approximately 10,000 tons of soil was removed and remediated from AOC06 The impacted soil was thermally remediated and backfilled into the excavation. Confirmation samples collected at the limits of the excavation indicated that there were TPH analytical results from the northwest part of the excavation above the 100 ppm cleanup level for this site. Free product was also observed in the bottom of the excavation During a 1995 SI, approximately 15 to 20 feet of the shoreline appeared to have eroded since the excavation work was completed. Additional investigation is recommended for AOC06, however, the eroding shoreline may prevent additional work. Gretchen Pikul
1/30/2001 Update or Other Action Final Site Investigation, Port Heiden RRS, Alaska (dated July 2000) – no draft version was received for ADEC review prior to the final version being submitted – this investigation was performed to update the relative risk evaluation for select sites at Port Heiden and Driftwood Bay RRS, however, a rock slide blocked access to 2 of the sites at Driftwood Bay and therefore the investigation was not conducted at 2 of the selected sites – pending funding, the samples may be collected this field season Gretchen Pikul
6/13/2002 Update or Other Action DEC received a fax and letter from the Lake and Pennisula Borough and the City of Port Heiden about a phone call from an annonymous worked who reported dumping drums of hazardous material into a trench on the northwest side of the former White Alice site and that the chemicals could cause health problems for the villlagers. The letters requested DEC assistance in following up on the call and ensuring the former military sites are cleaned up properly. John Halverson
6/19/2002 Update or Other Action DEC sent letter to the Corps of Engineers and the 611 CES (Air Force) informing them on the community concerns and asking for cooperation in compling the site records, conducting a site inspection and community meeting, and ensuring the sites are adequately characterized and cleaned up. John Halverson
9/5/2002 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC staff conducted a site inspection and particpated in a public meeting with the Corps of Engineers and the 611 CES (Air Force). Many residents expressed concern over health problems and their thoughts that there may be a link between past military activities and health problems. Scott Anderson, Tribal Environmental Coordinator and Lynn Carlson helped coordinate the meeting and site inspections. The surface cleanup work appears to have been very thorough and the landfills are adequately covered. Subsurface characterization is needed. Residents want their water wells sampled and had applied for a grant from TASWER to conduct the sampling. DEC, the Corps and Air Force staff said they would work together to help get wells sampled. John Halverson
9/18/2002 Update or Other Action After conducting the site visit earlier this month, staff researched options for groundwater characterization at Port Heiden and found out the the City of Port Heiden is on the Village Safe Water program's list for a Water and Wastewater Feasibility Study in FY03. The scope calls for evaluating the current systems, the aquifers, water use and estimated future needs. It may include some limited testing, but not sampling 30 wells; it is a civil works project rather than environmental. Staff is working with the Corps of Engineers to sample existing wells under the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP). John Halverson
4/30/2003 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC and the Air Force participated in a public meeting at Port Heiden to update the community on Air Force plans for conducting remedial investigation work in 2004 and completing a proposed plan, record of decision and implementing a remedy by 2007. The Corps does not have work planned for Fort Morrow until 2011, but will re-evaluate the schedule based on any new information (water well sample results). John Halverson
6/5/2003 Update or Other Action Keres Environmental is sampling all water wells in Port Heiden under the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP). Sampling plans were reviewed by DEC and the Corps and each well will be tested for VOC, PAHs, PCBs, and metals. Sampling will be conducted during the first week of June and results are anticipated by early August. John Halverson
12/12/2003 Update or Other Action Fax sent to 611 CES concurring with the Port Heiden 611th CES/CEVP Cultural Resources Relocation of Native Graves. In a phone conversation with ADEC (J. Halverson), they agreed that ADEC would not require a work plan or other reports for the disinterment effort. There is no intent to investigate this site to discover contamination. However, the Air Force is concerned with the possibility of encountering petroleum contamination because of the close proximity of the graves to a former petroleum storage tank location. In the event it is necessary to excavate petroleum contaminated soil in order to complete the exhumation, the Air Force plans to place any excavated petroleum contaminated soil back into the excavation. John Halverson signed and faxed approval back. Condition: Request that if "significant" (free product and/or strong vapors) contamination is encountered field work be coordinated with our program. John Halverson
1/16/2004 Meeting or Teleconference Held Lynne Bush travelled to Port Heiden for meeting with village council and interested public to discuss USAF upcoming work in summer 2004. Scott Henderson was interested in having a chance to take split samples and sending them to a lab of his own choice to validate the USAF's results. Mr. Underbakke agreed that this could happen, but stressed the need for appropriate health and safety gear as well as HAZWOPER certification. Lt. Meeker discussed the gravesite exhumation progress. 15 sets of remains were found in coffins and a 16th skeleton was discoved buried directly atop one of the coffins. The forensic anthropologists sexed and aged the skeletons, but couldn't determine the date of burial. New coffins were constructed and detailed for each burial. The USAF has to meet the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriate Act requirements before releasing the bodies to the community of Port Heiden for reburial in the spring (2005). NOTE To File: The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is a Federal law passed in 1990. NAGPRA provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items -- human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony - to lineal descendants, culturally affiliated Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations. All Federal agencies are subject to NAGPRA. All public and private museums that have received Federal funds, other than the Smithsonian Institution, are subject to NAGPRA. (Repatriation by the Smithsonian Institution is governed by the National Museum of the American Indian Act of 1989, 20 U.S.C. 80q.) The principle steps of the NAGPRA repatriation process include -- Federal agencies and museums must identify cultural items in their collections that are subject to NAGPRA, and prepare inventories and summaries of the items. Federal agencies and museums must consult with lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations regarding the identification and cultural affiliation of the cultural items listed in their NAGPRA inventories and summaries. Federal agencies and museums must send notices to lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations describing cultural items and lineal descendancy or cultural affiliation, and stating that the cultural items may be repatriated. The law requires the Secretary of the Interior to publish these notices in the Federal Register. Lynne Bush
5/31/2004 Update or Other Action During the fall and winter of 2003-2004 and the spring of 2004, the Air Force assisted the Port Heiden community in relocation of several grave sites located just north of the old church on the north side of the Marine Terminal Area. During excavation work, Air Force personnel noted a hydrocarbon odor in subsurface soil in an area approximately 40 feet north of the old church. No analytical samples were collected at this location during the excavation. John Halverson
6/1/2004 Update or Other Action Marine Terminal Area Beach Analytical Results There were no detections of any analyte in excess of screening criteria in beach surface soil or groundwater at the Marine Terminal Area. This includes samples collected from the stained soil area on the beach (Figure 6.2-70). The stain appears to be an iron precipitate. The iron likely precipitates out of groundwater when groundwater is exposed to the atmosphere as it seeps out of the bluff and onto the beach. The iron is likely present in groundwater within the bluff due to an anaerobic environment within the aquifer under the bluff. Benzene was the only analyte detected above the screening criteria at the Marine Terminal Area. Benzene was detected above the screening criteria of 0.02 mg/Kg in three subsurface soil samples. One sample was collected from 2.5 to 4.5 feet bgs in soil boring MTA-SB-02 and the other two were collected from 2.5 to 4.5 feet bgs and 7.5 to 9.5 bgs in soil boring MTA-SB-04. Two possible scenarios could have led to the benzene detected in these two borings. First, these two borings were drilled within the area of previously thermally treated soil, which was used as backfill in this location. It is possible that the benzene detected is a remnant of the thermal treatment process. Benzene may actually have been introduced to the soil through the treatment process. The second scenario is that a recent spill may have occurred at this location. However, this is unlikely since other fuel compounds were at very low concentrations or not detected (GRO was not detected in any of these three samples, DRO was detected up to 68 mg/Kg, and RRO was detected up to 140 mg/Kg). If this were a recent spill location, it is likely that other fuel compounds would be present in much higher concentrations. Louis Howard
5/3/2005 Update or Other Action File number issued 2637.38.002.07 Aggie Blandford
7/22/2005 Site Characterization Report Approved DEC approved the final RI report dated May 2005. The AF property was evaluated in three main areas, the former WACS facility, the pipeline cooridor and the former fuel tank farm. The former facility area has PCB contamination in soil, petroleum contamination in soil and groundwater and TCE contamination in groundwater. Groundwater flows toward the northwest away from the village. Localized areas of petroleum contamination in soil and surface water were found along the pipeline cooridor, with one area near the airport and Frosty Fuels pipeline having groundwater contamination. The former tank farm area did not have contamination above cleanup levels. The Marine Terminal Area Grave Excavation Area id not detect any analyte above screening criteria in any sample collected during the 2004 RI. During the early stages of the field investigation, a community member indicated that an area behind the "Ice House" at the Marine Terminal may contain buried drums. Reconnaissance of the area included visual inspection and use of a GA-92 Schonstedt metal detector. Metal roofing material was found on the surface to the north and northeast of the building, along with several drums of non-military origin. A large depression approximately 50 ft. by 100 ft. in size was located approximately 100 ft. east of the Ice House. There was no visual evidence of the presence of buried debris and no elevated metal detector response noted during the inspection. Ten small holes were hand-dug to 3 to 4 ft. bgs throughout the area behind the Ice House, including four within the depression. Soil appeared to be native at all locations and no buried debris was encountered. John Halverson
7/22/2005 Risk Assessment Report Approved DEC approved the human health and ecological risk assessments as part of the remedial investigation report. The risk assessments show potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks above acceptable State risk levels for the Former Facility Area. Contaminants of concern exceeding risk based levels include PCBs, TCE, pesticides, PAHs and arsenic (however, arsenic was within background levels). The risk assessments showed negligible risk along the pipeline cooridor and no unacceptable risk at the former tank farm. John Halverson
2/19/2008 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with ETM completed. Louis Howard
6/18/2009 Update or Other Action Patrick Roth RPM (611 CES/CEAR) sent memorandum letter to ADEC. SUBJECT: Site Closure for SS005, Spill/Leak No 4 at POL Tank Farm (Marine Terminal),Port Heiden, AK. The Air Force is requesting the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) concur on the SS005 site closure. Sample data from the 2006 Remedial Investigation indicate the site meets ADEC clean-up levels. Previous treatment having been successful, the only remaining chemicals of concern detected above screening level was DRO and benzene. DRO was detected well below the cleanup level. While there were three hits of benzene above the screening level, two were below the action level. A third hit was slightly above the clean-up level of 0.025 ppm; it was 0.026 ppm. However, this sample data was flagged as an estimation. Given this data, the site should be closed. I request your concurrence on closing this site. If further information becomes available indicating further study/remediation should be conducted, we would re-open the site. Louis Howard
6/29/2009 Cleanup Complete Determination Issued Letter sent to Air Force project manager. Site Closure for SS005, Spill/Leak No. 4 at POL Tank Farm (Marine Terminal), Port Heiden RRS, Alaska. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) has received the above document via electronic email on June 19, 2009. The letter requests ADEC concur on the request for site closure of SS005 POL Tank Farm (CS Database Hazard ID 180) located in the Study Area known as the Marine Terminal area. ADEC concurs with the Air Force’s request and will assign SS005 a “cleanup complete” status. In accordance with 18 AAC 75.380 Final reporting and site closure, ADEC has determined that: (1) SS005 has been adequately characterized under 18 AAC 75.335 and has achieved the applicable requirements under the site cleanup rules, ADEC is issuing this written determination that the cleanup is complete, subject to a future ADEC determination that the cleanup is not protective of human health, safety, or welfare, or of the environment; or (2) the cleanup and applicable institutional controls are not protective of human health, safety, or welfare, or of the environment, ADEC will, as necessary to ensure protection of human health, safety, or welfare, or of the environment, require the Air Force to conduct additional actions at SS005 that meet the requirements of the site cleanup rules. Louis Howard

Contaminant Information

Name Level Description Media Comments
Benzene < Method 2 Most Stringent Soil

Control Type

Type Details
No ICs Required


Description Details
Advance approval required to transport soil or groundwater off-site.